Of Brawns and Finesse
The third installment in the series of articles that shed the much needed light onto the various sports teams in campus…
By Harshini T (B.E Electrical and Electronics (SW), 2016-2021)
…this time, on the Sepak-takraw and Table tennis teams. Check out the previous article in the series at From Smashes to Dunks .
The game that brings out raw talent
The pride of being the only college in Coimbatore that organizes and celebrates ‘Sepak Takraw’ belongs to PSG Tech. Being an intricate combination of football and volleyball, PSG Tech has a men’s team consisting of about 40 players. We had the opportunity to meet the captain, Mr.Kathir (B.E Metallurgy, 2014-2018) on his way back from his daily grind, for a brief interview. Mr.Kathir had developed an interest in Sepak Takraw only after joining PSG Tech, when he was fascinated by the sport after watching practice sessions. During our brief interaction, he explained the typical warm-up schedule of the players – vigorous physical activities for 3 hours, which includes 5 to 8 rounds of running, and stretching deltoids, lats and calf muscles for 20 minutes. “The diet is quite flexible, with emphasis on decreasing carbs and increasing intake of vitamins from fresh fruits and vegetables”, said the avid sportsman. Talking about his inspiration, he mentioned Thailand’s Pornchai Kaokaew, who is currently regarded as one of the best strikers in the world. The initiative to begin this game in our college was taken by one of our own, Mr.BALAJI SITARAM (B.E ECE, 2002-2006), who now plays for the national team. (To know more about the sport and its induction at our campus, read SEPAK TAKRAW- Where Football meets Volleyball .)
Another member of the team, Mr PAVITHRAN (B.E EEE (SW), 2013-2018) joined the interesting conversation. His involvement in the sport was clearly visible, as his eyes lit up with enthusiasm on the mention of the word ‘Takraw’. Like Mr.Kathir, Mr.Pavithran was also introduced to the sport during his first year at Tech and he joined the team out of sheer curiosity. He also gave an insight into the various strategies used and illustrated with diagrams of players’ positions, for each of them. “In a nutshell, Takraw is all about fighting gravity”, added the enthusiast. Another name deserving special mention is Mr.LAKSHMI NARAYANAN (B.E Electrical and Electronics (SW), 2013-2018 ), who has been playing the sport since his 7th grade. “My interest in Takraw is the main reason I chose PSG Tech for my under graduation”, he admitted, taking us by surprise. With several trophies and accolades (and stellar moments!) under his belt that were garnered over the last ten years, his enthusiasm for the sport is infectious and striking, much like the mantra he follows – ‘Fight till your last breath’.
Three matches of Sepak Takraw are held in Tamil Nadu every year, them being:
- the Tirunelveli Takraw league
- the Chennai Sepak Takraw league
- the PSG Tech Takraw league
Furthermore, there are annual inter-state tournaments that are hosted in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, with our team being a regular participant in all of them. De facto, the two-feet rolling trophy for the state tournament is currently in our team’s possession!
The team members also take a lot of efforts to spread the sport and get it the attention it deserves – one such initiative at the Happy Streets event organised by the Coimbatore Corporation every Sunday. The players are hopeful of seeing a women’s team represent PSG Tech soon and added that the idea is not too distant. Mr.Karthik took a moment to thank the alumni of Takraw, who fund the team with ₹ 30,000/- every year. In fact, there is a dedicated club for the former players who are actively involved in playing the game even today, which knits the team together like a family.
A fierce game in a tranquil atmosphere
Though being an indoor sport, Table tennis, fondly known as Ping-Pong needs no introduction. Given its compactness, it is no wonder that the game enjoys a huge following. We bring you excerpts from our interaction with some members of the Table tennis team.“The game is easy to learn, but tough to master”, says Mr. VIJAY DEEPAK (B.E Computer Science, 2014-2018 ), the captain of the boys’ TT team. Mr Vijay has been playing table tennis since his 8th grade; what started as a hobby later became his passion. “Reflexes are paramount in table tennis, with TT being one of the most quickly paced games in the world. The ball machine, which can be accessed at all the times helps us maintain and quicken our reflexes”, he said. His inspiration is Mr.Gangadhar (an alumnus and former sports secretary), who is a high-spirited person and has constantly encouraged everyone to be associated with a sport. The girls’ captain, Ms.IRENE (B.E Computer Science, 2014-2018) mentioned her dedication to the sport since childhood, and narrated how she converted dining tables into table tennis courts! Talking about the multitasking involved, she said, “Academic pressure has certainly taken a toll on my practice sessions” but added that she tries her best to strike a balance between both.
Every year, there are about five major tournaments for table tennis, apart from the matches conducted within our campus. Some of the tournaments conducted within Coimbatore are:
- the KCT trophy
- the SKCT trophy
- the KPR trophy
Mr.Vijay believes that there are no specific techniques to play the game, with each player having his/her own style(s) of play. During our interaction, he placed emphasis on player positioning and on the importance of synergy with the partner during a game of doubles. “Practicing your strokes early, and playing in a calm and composed manner with the opponent and factors like adjustment between partners generally doubles your chance of winning”, said the ardent sportsman. “Analyzing your opponents before playing triples your chances. It helps you realize your strengths and their weaknesses”, he added.
“Reflexes and knowledge on estimating the position of the ball can be gained from practice. Mastering technique and placement in TT makes one a professional, but it requires abundant persistence”, admitted Irene. “Communication is the key which helps us understand the strengths and weaknesses of our partner while playing doubles. Coming up with a strategy that works best for both greatly boosts up the chances of winning”, she said, describing a typical doubles game. “Losing is like a pinch of salt, from which we get to learn something new and that improves our confidence level. The spirit to appreciate your opponent’s victory, even though you have lost the game, is something that table tennis has taught me”, she added genuinely. The team members mentioned that they would love to connect and stay in touch with the former players and believe that their support would certainly help them a lot.
Mr.Vijay also mentioned that he would continue playing even after he graduates. “The game literally means the world to me, as it has taught me how to stay dedicated, remain patient and respect others”, he admitted honestly.
THE BRIDGE would like to express its gratitude to all team members for having taken time out of their arduous schedule to speak with us. We wish them all the best of luck in their future tournaments and enthusiastically await their victories. Keep following us for similar stories on other sports teams!
HARSHINI T (BE SW EEE, 2016- 2021) is chirpy, outgoing and is ready to meet new people and befriend them. She loves reading and listening to people and is always curious to learn and explore new things.
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